Clarkson University sets Science Cafés for spring in Potsdam and Canton
Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 11:27 am

Local university professors will once again take to the stage starting Feb. 16 for the "Science Café."

Science Cafes bring together local university and college professors and townspeople in an informal setting, such as coffeehouses and pubs. The speaker makes a short presentation about a topic in his or her field, and then opens up the floor to discussion.

All Canton Science Cafes will take place Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. in the Park View Common Room, above the Blackbird Café, 107 Main St. in Canton.

All Potsdam Science Cafes will take place Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. in the St. Lawrence Valley Roasters & Jernabi Coffeehouse, 11 Maple St. in Potsdam.

Here's a rundown of this spring's topics and speakers:

• Smart Grid and Electric Vehicles, . in Canton and Feb. 17 in Potsdam

What if electric cars and meters could talk to each other? Meter: "How was your day?" Car: "Great! I charged at the station at Clarkson, then drove to Watertown," to the more intimate. Meter: "Do you trust me?" Car: "Sure! I see that you've installed a patch for the latest virus going around." Join Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Melike Erol-Kantarci as she explains why we might soon witness this type of communications and how it would improve our daily lives.

• Adolescent Sexuality: Ignorance or Bliss?, March 8 in Canton and March 9 in Potsdam

We know with certainty that abstinence-based sexuality education doesn't work, yet little is being done to offer young people the information and skills they need to become sexually healthy adults. Recent research is creating a new paradigm for understanding youthful sexual behaviors, whereby the healthy, normative aspects of sexual development are being recognized and embraced. Join Clarkson University Adjunct Instructor Gary Kelly for a discussion of new, fresh perspectives on this timeless, important topic.

• Making an Origami Crane Fly in 3-D, from a Single Photograph, March 22 in Canton and March 23 in Potsdam

Photo-editing software such as Photoshop has expanded creativity by allowing users to edit their photographs. However, such software is fundamentally limited to the 2-D plane of the image. Join Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Computer Science Natasha Banerjee as she discusses her research on 3-D photo-manipulations, including rearranging furniture, flipping taxicabs, reorienting World War II planes, and making an origami crane come to life, all from a single photograph.

• Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Chemical Overdoses, April 5 in Canton and April 6 in Potsdam

Patient overdoses on therapeutics given by physicians or taken by prescription, as well as unwise use of illicit drugs, is widespread and results in many thousands of deaths each year. Some of these problems can be successfully treated with microemulsions, or highly specialized nanoparticles. Join Clarkson University Senior University Professor of Chemistry Richard Partch for a discussion of the state-of-the-art and ongoing research on functionalized nanoparticles as antidotes for common chemical afflictions of human internal and external tissues.

• Metal Pair Catalysts for Solar Fuels, April 19 in Canton and April 20 in Potsdam

Plants transform light, carbon dioxide and water in oxygen and sugar fuels through the elegant process of photosynthesis. Imagine the boon to the environment if we could only replicate that process. Join St. Lawrence University Assistant Professor of Chemistry Adam Hill to hear about the state-of-the-art in artificial photosynthesis and the use of "heterobimetallic" materials -- specially designed combinations of paired metals -- in the effort to produce green energy.

Find out more about Clarkson's Science Cafe at http://www.clarkson.edu/sciencecafe. Email Daniel ben-Avraham at [email protected] with any comments, questions or suggestions for future Science Cafe topics. Info: www.sciencecafes.org.